After seeing people around her suffer from health problems, Rosalind decided to change her unhealthy lifestyle, and rope in members from her car club.
A cycling accident and a slipped disc in 2013 caused Rosalind Choo to become completely sedentary. The 39-year-old insurance agent was an active cyclist and frequent gym-goer up to that point.
“A car cut across in front of me while I was cycling and I couldn’t brake in time so I fell. A slipped disc injury resulted from that and I had to stop exercising entirely. It was so bad that I couldn’t even stand up straight,” she recalled.
Rosalind cancelled her gym membership, where she regularly attended group fitness classes and lifted weights, and she was also constantly on painkillers to manage the injury.
“It was a very depressing period for me. From being highly active, I was suddenly unable to do any form of activity. I was going for rehabilitation but the pain in my back kept coming back and I lost a lot of motivation in life,” she added.
During this time, her father also had a heart bypass surgery. To cope with that stressful period, Rosalind sought comfort in food.
She ate whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, and eventually gained 16kg over three years, along with a host of health problems such as gastric and heartburn.
“When my weight hit 67kg (for my height of 1.65 metres), I decided I couldn’t let myself get any heavier. I hated seeing myself in photos and I couldn’t wear any of my clothes anymore. That was when I realised I had to start my exercise regime again,” Rosalind shared.
She started jogging 2.4 kilometres on the running track five times a week, and lost a few kilos. However, those kilos came back quickly as she did not modify her diet, frequently eating anything she fancied, like ice cream and bubble tea, as well as late-night suppers. After a year, she still saw no results.
The turning point
Her turning point came when she decided to work with her friends Desmond Lee and Gladys Leong, who own a gym called Hercules Fitness. As president of her car club, Sports Car Club Singapore, Rosalind wanted to do something for her members.
“I saw my club members leading such unhealthy lifestyles, and decided we should all do something for our health together. Some of my members have gone for heart bypass surgery, others have to rely on medications, many of them have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and one even had to get balloon angioplasty done!
“Then one of my members unfortunately passed away in his sleep from a suspected heart attack. He was under 40. Thus, last August we started weekly training sessions for my members at Hercules Fitness,” she explained.
Gradually, from one group session a week, Rosalind is now exercising six times a week, including one personal training session with Gladys. Under Gladys’ guidance, Rosalind made adjustments in her diet and that was when she saw the biggest change. She cut out sweet drinks, removed sauces, used less oil and salt in cooking, reduced sugar and replaced desserts with healthier options.
“Honestly, changing my diet was the hardest, but it was also the most effective in seeing change in my body. I have no problems training long hours but I love food too much, and dieting seemed challenging! Thankfully, Gladys eased me into a sustainable diet where I could still eat outside food.”
After two years, Rosalind lost the 16kg weight gain. Beyond the digits on the scale, she feels much healthier. One of the objectives of her training programme was to strengthen her core muscles so that the strain on her back could be reduced, along with the pain in her back.
“People now say I look 10 years younger, and this is the leanest I’ve been in my life. Even at this weight previously, I was still more of the ‘skinny fat’ (thin but with low muscle mass and higher concentration of fat in the abdomen) so I’m really happy with how strong I’ve become,” she said.